The trouble with QR codes is that users often need third-party apps to scan them, and more often than not, the effort associated with finding, downloading, and installing just the right one depletes the interest in the first place.
Well, not anymore. Google is now rolling out an update to Chrome for iOS that can perform the job altogether. The app now includes an integrated QR scanning functionality, which users can access by virtue of a 3D Touch shortcut or typing "QR" in Spotlight.
QR And Barcode Scanner On Chrome For iOS
The shortcuts may only refer to QR scanning, although the app is more capable than that. Chrome can also scan traditional product barcodes, whereby doing so would take the user to a Google Search results page for the object scanned, alongside prices, reviews, and more.
Despite rumors of QR codes being punted into the sunset, they haven't entirely lost purpose and usage yet. If anything, they've started to resurface thanks in part to popular apps rekindling their use, such as Snapchat, Kik, and — employing the same concept — Messenger. Even Amazon is slapping QR codes on some of its packaging at present.
The Trouble With QR Codes
Still, QR codes aren't prevalent enough to warrant a standalone QR scanner on-hand, which is why Google's integration makes the chore less cumbersome. With the limited adoption of QR code in real-world use, phone manufacturers have likely not felt that the feature is a much-needed staple on a phone's operating system, though adding one would likely be an easy affair, perhaps it just involves slapping the functionality as a Camera or Search add-on.
The iPhone's QR code reader is hidden inside the Wallet app, where it's used to scan coupons, boarding passes, tickets, and others. Of course, QR codes can actually be used to do a lot more, but until QR codes proliferate mainstream space, the concept will continue being relegated to an alternative way of looking up things.
Chrome For iOS Now Open Source
The update nips at the heels of a Chrome for iOS becoming open source, which could potentially lead to others taking advantage of the code and using it to create and develop their own third-party browsers for iOS.
iOS development for Chrome is poised to become much faster because of it since the bulk of tests will now be available for the whole Chromium community, which runs automatically each time a code is checked in.
Chrome is one of the most popular web browsers not just on desktop but also on mobile platforms. Now with QR and Barcode scanning features thrown into the mix, Chrome is progressively looking as an omnibus browser that ties many features into one standalone app, which reduces the need to install third-party apps to perform minor functions.
The new Chrome for iOS with QR scanning built-in is available now. Apart from a new QR scanner, the update also includes a redesigned tab switcher for Chrome on iPad, which Google says should make accessing open sites easier. It also adds a few 3D Touch shortcuts as well, including initiating a voice search, opening a new tab, or opening the most recently copied link.